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Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I know I haven't posted in like a year. I just figured I would put this Timothy Brindle song up here. I don't think I really have much time to write any time soon, but I'll probably start posting stuff again.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Gospel

The gospel has been rocking my world lately. Along with God's sovereignty and Him seeking His glory in all things, this has been the foundation of my life. The gospel changes everything. It doesn't just change my standing with God. It changes the way I live my life. It changes the way I view sin. It changes the way I talk about myself. It changes everything. Literally everything.

Since I have learned so much about the beauty and ramifications about the gospel in the past year, I'd like to just offer up the resources I've had to you all. I'm sure there are plenty more that I'm forgetting, so please post some as comments if you think of any.

A Gospel Primer for Christians by Milton Vincent
I just finished this book last week. It's short (about 70 pages) and just packed full. The opening is 31 reasons to preach the gospel to yourself every day. I will probably be reviewing those pages for however long God keeps me alive. Read this book.

How the Gospel Changes Us by Timothy Keller
This is not a book. It's really not even a sermon. It's more like a seminar that Keller did. Either Dayton Merrell or Matt Childers introduced me to this a couple years ago. Anyway, this was the beginning of gospel-centrality for me. If I could put two resources in your hands and be left at that, this and the Primer would be those two. Listen to it. It's only like an hour long.
*Along with that is this little paper "The Centrality of the Gospel"

The Cross-Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney
This was a great book (another little one). Mahaney gives very practical ways to remind yourself of the gospel every day.

God is the Gospel by John Piper
I didn't even read this book. All I read was the introduction, but it has impacted my life in a way that I will probably never fully understand. I read the introduction to this book sitting in Barnes & Noble at the mall waiting on a friend. This was in the middle of my topsy-turby summer after my freshman year of college. Hearing that Piper talk about God as my final and ultimate reward answered questions that I had been wrestling with for months and months. Since I read that, everything has been colored by God as the all-satisfying reward of Christianity. [I plan to read the actual book as soon as my dad finishes.

What Is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert
In this book, Greg Gilbert showed me the simplicity of the gospel message and that in that simplicity, it's power is not lost. He also made some distinctions for me that I needed to hear.

The rest of these are great sermons that I have run into in the past year. They have shaped my view of the gospel and its effect on my life.

"Giving Thought to Gospel 'Math': Why Jesus + Nothing = Everything" by Tullian Tchividjian
"Intro to Galatians" by Mark Driscoll
"Getting Out (Exodus 14)" by Tim Keller
"Preaching the Gospel to the De-Churched" by Matt Chandler

There are obviously many other things I could have put on here that I just can't think of right now. I hope these help us never forget the gospel.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Love Wins

Last night I finished Rob Bell's book Love Wins. I want to be honest with you all. It was a frustrating few days reading through that book. I'm still frustrated. I'm frustrated for a lot of reasons. Some I anticipated. Some I did not. Earlier today I sat down and started to write a review of the book. I stopped about a page in. I'm going to try something that I don't try very often. I'm going to keep my mouth shut. That doesn't mean I'm not going to talk about the book and what I think about it. I'm sure I will have many conversations in the days and weeks to come about it. But not here. Call me or email me if you'd like to talk about it. Really. Do that. I'd love to talk about it.

One thing I will do is offer up Kevin DeYoung's review to you:

At first I felt a little ashamed to offer up someone else's opinion on this topic instead of my own. But honestly (I'm working on that) mine would be filled with bias, emotion, and frustration. I don't think those are bad things (except bias), but they typically don't make for well articulated points. There is some sanctification that needs to happen there. I'm praying for that. Not to mention, DeYoung is much more qualified to write a proper book review than I am.

I would like to say something about the frustration that I feel though. Yes the frustration comes from someone disagreeing with me. I know I have a problem with that. But as I read through the pages, I realized this frustration and anger (let's call it what it is) was coming from a much deeper place. As he made points and claims, my friends faces would pop into my head. I would think, "I'll bet that resonated with him" or "I know that is an area that he struggles too." My anger came from the realization that my friends, people I care about could be led astray by these things. What I kept thinking the entire time, especially during the chapter The Good News Is Better Than That, was that exact thing. I kept thinking, 'The gospel is so much better than this!' I hurt for my friends. I hurt for people who were brought up with some of the terrible misconceptions about the gospel that you can tell have influenced Rob Bell. But I want to plead with them not to come up with something and go with it just because it makes them feel better. Because the gospel is so much better than that. It's so much richer and more joy-giving than we could ever imagine.

I know I ranted. I do that. If you're reading this, I love you. It may not seem like it all the time, but I do. I stay up praying for you guys often. I pray that you wouldn't be led astray to some false picture of the gospel. That is still my prayer. That you would be grounded in the Word. That God would protect you. That's all. Read Kevin DeYoung's review. It's twenty pages, but it is well worth your time. He is a smart man who loves the Lord. And like me, he cares about what people are being taught. And read your Bible. It is the Word of Life.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Rob Bell

This has been a big topic on my mind and amidst my conversation for the last two days, so I figured I'd go ahead and write something about it. Rob Bell is coming out with a new book called "Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived." It doesn't come out until the end of March, but Bell and the publisher (HarperOne) have made a promo and written a blurb about it. Here is the promo video and then the blurb from the publisher.

"Fans flock to his Facebook page, his NOOMA videos have been viewed by millions, and his Sunday sermons are attended by 10,000 parishioners—with a downloadable podcast reaching 50,000 more. An electrifying, unconventional pastor whom Time magazine calls “a singular rock star in the church world,” Rob Bell is the most vibrant, central religious leader of the millennial generation. Now, in Love Wins: Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, Bell addresses one of the most controversial issues of faith—the afterlife—arguing that a loving God would never sentence human souls to eternal suffering. With searing insight, Bell puts hell on trial, and his message is decidedly optimistic—eternal life doesn’t start when we die; it starts right now. And ultimately, Love Wins." (from

I'm not going to make a lot of comments about this. I plan on reading the book at some point. Hopefully soon after it comes out so I can open up some discussion on it. But this is just to let people know what is going on out there.

Here are two blog posts that I read yesterday from two men whom I very much respect:
Kevin DeYoung
Justin Taylor

I love you guys

Soli Deo gloria

Friday, February 11, 2011

Devotional Thoughts

I realized yesterday that I haven't mentioned anything on here about my recent postings. On one of my last postings (the one about Systematic Theology I think), someone from a website called commented and asked me if I'd like to start writing for their website. After I realized it wasn't someone messing with me, I agreed to do it. I've written two devotionals for them now (I'm supposed to write one every two weeks but I kind of slacked in that first part of school). These are the links to them:
-Beginning in a Humble State
-Gospel Motivation

It's kind of a nice set up, because, like this blog, I can just write whatever has been on my mind as of late. Different though, is that people are reading it whom I have never met. So that is pretty cool. The website is pretty centered around the Christian Rap culture. And obviously most of my friends aren't running with that crew (although their are a few going strong). I pray that God can use this jar of clay to spread the treasure of His word (2 Corinthians 4:7). And hopefully Paul's words will ring true and show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to me.

For the people who do know me and haven't talked to me in forever, I'd like to update you because you probably won't see me for awhile. My summer plans have changed. I'm no longer coming home for the summer. Through a series of really cool events... actually just through Harrison Dell's word of mouth, I got offered an internship at Muskogee Church of Christ for the summer. I decided that it was an opportunity I just couldn't pass over. So, I'm going to spend twelve weeks of the summer working with the youth group in Muskogee, Oklahoma. I've very excited about it and would very much appreciate your prayers. So that's my short little update. Hopefully this weekend I will have time to comment on what I've been reading and learning lately.

Soli Deo gloria

Saturday, January 8, 2011


God is good. I think I give lip service to that a lot, but I don't really stop and dwell on it very much. He is watching over me, and He promises that He is causing all things to work together for my good (Romans 8:28). The reason I say this now is because of how He has shown His providential work over the last couple of days. As I told you, I'm reading Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology. It's a great book. I love the content, and I love the thought process of systematic theology. But there are two prevalent dangers when reading something like this. I mentioned the first danger the other day. That is reducing the Bible to facts that we need to memorize and figure out. When we do that we miss the overall story of the Bible and how God has revealed Himself. The other danger may not be as obvious, but it is there I can promise you. It is the opportunity for pride to well up in me. I'm learning things that I have never known before. In that I am learning things that I know a lot of the people around me don't know. My human nature tells me that I am better than them because of that. I get things that no one else gets. That makes me better. God is good.

Like a dad watching his son inch closer to the cookie jar God has been watching over me. Two days ago I went to lunch with Mr. Webster. I didn't plan on it. I wasn't even going to leave the house all day. Abby forgot her lunch, so I took it to her. Lo and behold, my good friend didn't have anything to do the rest of the day so we went to lunch and hung out. Amidst the conversation he gave me two things that I want to tell you about. One very randomly came up, the other obviously had been on his mind. The first was a video of Voddie Baucham. Watch the video and then we can go on... Okay if you watched it, I don't even need to say anything. If you didn't, just know that there really couldn't be a more humbling nine-minute clip than that. The second thing was something I didn't expect. There really couldn't be anything more opposite of systematic theology than this. It's called The History of Redemption Video. This one is a little longer, so you don't have to watch it right now. Just click on "Watch the Sermon" when you want to. It is a walk through the Biblical story (using only Bible verses) to show God's story of redemption in a concise way. Very sobering. And a great reminder that I can't stop at understanding a bunch of facts about God. He's given us revelation about Him, not in the form of a math book, but a story.

Praise God for His providence in my life. Praise Him that He is watching over me and doing things that may seem very small but have a huge effect on me. I pray these things can have some effect on you too, and that you can see your Father working for your good.

Soli Deo gloria

P.S. I left a note in comment form on The Weight of Glory to clear up any confusion.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Newfound Love for Systematic Theology

"I'm in love, I'm in love, and I don't care who knows it." (Thirty bonus points for whoever gets that reference) I haven't been working at all on this break, so I've had nothing to do for the past three days. Since I'm always ticked that I don't have time to read, I've decided to redeem the time (Webster reference). I bought Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology book over the summer but have really only cracked it once. Now, I've decided to dive in.

That is where we meet my new love: Systematic Theology. Systematic Theology is exactly what it sounds like: a system of theology. Think really good topical preaching. Instead of going through the Bible (like I have been doing), it goes through different topics and looks at what the whole of Scripture has to say about that one topic. Obviously there's some overlap, but that brings me to why I love it so much. Working out theology systematically forces you to answer all the questions. Because you are looking at the whole of Scripture, you must look at all the Bible has to say at a particular topic. In that way, it protects us from reductionism. Reductionism (as Mark Driscoll explained it to me) is the fault of only looking something in view of part of Scripture. The one topic that he talked about a lot was not reducing Christ to only his deity or only his humanity. It really is cool because so many holes in my view of God are because I'm not looking at everything that the Bible has to say about him.

I will heed Driscoll's advice here. He warns against an overuse of systematic theology because it takes away from the story of the Bible. We lose the narrative of God's history of redemption when we only look at individual facts and truths about given topics. So I want to be sure that I am not putting too much emphasis on a book like this. However, that does not change the beautiful ability of systematic theology to give me a full view of Scripture. So I will continue to sing its praises while remembering that it cannot be the end of my study.

Another favorable aspect of this book (I'm sure it is done in other works of systematic theology, but this is my only reference point) is that it shows false views of certain topics and where they come from. An example is the chapter on creation, which I'm reading right now. After Grudem explained how God relates to his creation (namely that it shows His character and He declares it to be very good, but that He is distinct from it and rules over it), He explained materialism, pantheism, emanation, dualism, and deism, which are all false views of God's relation to creation that contradict the account of the Bible but have shown up over the years.

Now you might be asking yourself, "Why in the world do those things matter to me?" I'm glad you asked. (Another Webster reference) These are all views that not only non-Christians, but professing Christians have of God and how he relates to creation. Since they are all forms of reducing Scripture to just some of what it says, they all have Scriptural backing and evidence. Having a solid view of the truth along with a clear understanding of the lies that culture tells, gives us the ability to recognize those lies when they show up. I can't tell you how important this is. I have had so many instances that someone says something and I think to myself, "That doesn't sound right." But then they show me a Bible verse and say, "Look, it says it right there." Having a knowledge of where they are going to point gives us the ability to ask important questions. Not shove their faults in their face and yell at them, but ask good questions to make sure that we have a clear understanding. It is a way to love our brothers and sisters around us (as well as people who are apart from God). Because if God is totally and completely good, then a clearer understanding of Him increases the joy we have in him and the awesomeness and outrageousness (may not be words, don't care) of his love for us. The clearer we see him, the better he looks and the more we are blown away by him.

Anyway, that is my endorsement for systematic theology. And since I'm reading Wayne Grudem's book right now, I'll go ahead and advocate him too. I'm blown away at how humble this guy is in writing. He's so ready to show the other side of discussions and present evidence not only for what he believes but what other people believe as well. He mixes standing for explicit truth and having loving disagreement about some doctrine beautifully. It's been such an encouragement for me to be taught by someone like that. Also, he puts things in here that I don't think are the norm for this kind of book. At the end of each chapter he has application of what we have just learned and how that shows up in our lives and the way we understand the world. Then he has questions to ask ourselves about how these beliefs show up in the way we live our lives. And my favorite thing is that he ends with a hymn to meditate on what we just learned. I just love it.

So there it is, my full endorsement for Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology. I hope some of you will take my advice and dive into this study of God and His revelation to us. It has already increased my joy in knowing Him so much (and I'm only like two hundred pages into it). I'd love to be able to discuss some of these things with you guys.

Before I leave I'd like to leave you guys with some resources. Most of them are sermons from Passion but there are a few on here that deal with Holy Hip Hop (or Christian Rap). I'm going to put a few interviews on here as well as some Lyrical Theology to give you a taste of what I have come to love. (Yes this is basically just a post of me endorsing things.)

John Piper's message at Passion 2011: "Getting to the Bottom of Your Joy"
Quickly I need to say some words about this. Piper's message (like last year) is one that I believe is foundational. This was huge for me and really got to the bottom of a lot of things in my life. It also showed me a lot of what my life was like from the ages of 15 to 19. I had the goal of people thinking highly of me. Jesus became a way to get to that end. I was still at the bottom. Now Jesus has become the bottom of that joy. This probably won't make sense until you watch it. So watch and listen closely. This is very important stuff.
Here is the link to the audio of Piper's message at Desiring God

Unfortunately the videos from Passion are no longer up on the internet. Piper's is the only audio up for now.

Here are a few interviews about Holy Hip Hop:
John Piper interviewing Lecrae at Passion 2011
Thabiti Anyabwile on Holy Hip Hop
Lecrae's interview with the 700 club about his life and Christian Rap

Here are some examples of Lyrical Theology and the gospel being preached through rap:
Shai Linne preaching the gospel
Lecrae- Don't Waste Your Life
Flame- Joyful Noise
Timothy Brindle- Liberation
Trip Lee- Satisfaction

You can also look at other artists. These are some of the guys who I listen to: Lecrae, Trip Lee, shai linne, timothy brindle, Tedashii, Flame, and Dayton told me I need to start listening to PRO so I'll put him on here too.

I've just mixed Systematic Theology and Holy Hip Hop. Hopefully nobody freaks out on me. I hope you guys use these resources and they give you a greater picture of and pleasure in Jesus.

Soli Deo gloria

Monday, January 3, 2011


364 days ago today I heard John Piper speak at Passion 2010. The message was "Is Jesus an Egomaniac?" That message laid the foundation for my life. Since that time I have listened to probably hundreds of sermons, read hundreds of articles, and read about ten books. But none of it makes any sense outside of God's passion for His own glory. I want to praise God for putting John Piper and the Passion conference in my life. He knew what he was doing when He got me to start talking to Heidi Tabor and Kaitlyn Schaefer in the student center about the Peace by Peace conference at Harding. That and a series of other events has led to a taking over of my life and a deep longing in me to see God glorified.

Tonight, John Piper will speak to another group of 18-25 year-olds. I assume He will bring some other form of the same message, with the underlying theme that God lives to see Himself glorified. Pray with me that hearts will be changed. Pray that hearts that are slaves of sin would become hearts that are slaves to righteousness. Pray that the Spirit of God would rest on people and save them from a life of worshipping things that will perish. Pray that, in His speaking, Dr. Piper would show the greatness of almighty God. Our God is jealous for the worship and allegiance that belongs to Him. Pray that tonight He would receive that from some who have held it back up to this point in their lives. And pray that collectively God would use this generation to proclaim His gospel. Pray that the name of Jesus would be lifted high among our brothers and sisters and that He would wake America up. I know this is a lot to ask for. But isn't it great to know that we worship a God who can deliver what we ask for, no matter how big it is?

If you want to watch tonight (or the two previous messages) go to the Passion live streaming web site. Dr. Piper's message should begin at about 7:45 ET. But check in early to experience some of the worship at Passion as well.

Soli Deo gloria

The Weight of Glory

Greek has not received much application from me yet. I have only been learning the language for one semester and you should know that I'm not re-translating my own version of the Bible yet. However, one application that has been very helpful is the understanding of individual words. A lot of it has been understanding the different roots of words and their connections to other words (etymology). It turns out that many of the religious words that we use today were taken from everyday words in the Greek or Hebrew languages. Now I'm not at all saying that we shouldn't keep using them. I believe that words matter and some words that we use are so packed with meaning and particular connotations in the Bible that we should keep using them. I'm just suggesting that we work a little harder at explaining them.

Some examples that don't really have much significance are words like Bible (βιβλίον), which is the Greek word for book, and scripture (γραφή), which was just the Greek word for writing. Another example of something that sheds a little more light is the name Deuteronomy. The word δεύτερος (transliterated deuteros) is the Greek word for second, while νόμος (or nomos) is the general word for law. Therefore it helps to know that the title of Deuteronomy literally means second law. It gives you a better idea of what the book is trying to accomplish. (And it turns out that the book really is a repeat of most of what has been said in the Law up to that point.)

The most useful thing I have learned when it comes to this study of etymology is the meaning of the word "glory". Glory has taken on a lot of meanings and carries a lot of connotations now days. We flippantly say things like, "My goal in life is to glorify God." I do not think that is a bad goal. In fact, that is the goal of my life. But when we say important statements like that, I believe we should have some understanding of what we are saying. And at its most basic level, understanding comes in individual words. So knowing what it means to glorify would have a large impact on how this goal plays out in someone's life. So glory, in its original everyday use, meant weightiness or significance. Think about that for just a minute. When Paul says in Colossians 3 that we should do everything, whether in word or deed, to the glory of God the Father, he is talking about showing God's significance, showing His importance.

Now obviously glory does not mean that everywhere it shows up in the Bible. When we talk about our glorified bodies we do not mean our significant bodies. That is talking about renewed bodies and honestly I don't know where the connection between the two words. I'd have to study further to get that. But this understanding of what I am talking about should not be taken lightly. When we talk about glorifying God with our lives and with everything that we do, we are talking about showing, in every action, how significant and important He is. That makes sense to me. So by reading my Bible instead of watching TV, I am showing that God is important to me. By talking about Jesus regularly in conversation, I am showing that He is important. This isn't just something I say sometimes. He is legitimately significant in my life and much more important in the grand scheme of things than other things that I could be doing with my time, money, energy, and efforts. Think about all the applications of this that show up in everyday decisions.

I was just thinking about this and thought I would share it with you. I also have a resource that I want to share with you and it is a good one at that. It is Mark Driscoll's sermon series called Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe. In this series, Driscoll walks through the basic doctrine that we hold to as Christians. It is one of the most helpful series that I have ever listened to. A lot of what he says in here is foundational to my worldview. I listened to it last year so this is my second time through and it is rocking me again and also hammering home a lot of essential truths. Please, if you have any desire to listen to this, do it. He says a lot of things that are essential Christian beliefs that I had never heard before. Meaning I did not understand some things about Christianity that are basic and I should have known a long time ago. There are thirteen sermons, each of them being about an hour long. You can listen to these in two weeks without even changing anything about your day. Don't watch the 11 pm Sportscenter for the next two weeks and watch one of these each night instead. You may not know how well Kobe Bryant is playing, but you will know more about who God is and why we need salvation. Skip your daily watching of One Tree Hill and watch one of these. In two weeks you won't know what Chad Michael Murray has been up to, but honestly who the heck cares? I'm series, these truths will shape your life. Don't let what's on TBS tonight shape your worldview, let that be the function of the Word of God.

Well, I got on a little tangent there I guess. But oh well. Also, I have some things to say about Passion 2011, but I will leave those for later today. I love you all. I hope these things challenge you and that they somehow increase your hunger for Jesus.

Soli Deo gloria

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas Reminder

I got a good reminder this morning of the glories of Jesus's birth. The incarnation of Christ brought the almighty God into this world in a humble human state. I couldn't even hope to try to explain or understand everything that entails. But this morning I got a text from a friend that sent me to a place that reminds me of some of it. It was a reference in The Valley of Vision. This is what is on page 28:

The Gift Of Gifts

O Source of all good,

What shall I render to thee for the gift of gifts,
thine own dear Son, begotten, not created,
my Redeemer, proxy, surety, substitute,
his self-emptying incomprehensible,
his infinity of love beyond the heart's grasp.
Herein is wonder of wonders:
he came below to raise me above,
was born like me that I might become like him.
Herein is love;
when I cannot rise to him he draws near on
wings of grace,
to raise me to himself.
Herein is power;
when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart
he united them in indissoluble unity,
the uncreated and the created.
Herein is wisdom;
when I was undone, with no will to return to him,
and no intellect to devise recovery,
he came, God-incarnate, to save me
to the uttermost,
as man to die my death,
to shed satisfying blood on my behalf,
to work out a perfect righteousness for me.
O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds,
and enlarge my mind;
let me hear good tidings of great joy,
and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,
my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose (rest).
my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father;
place me with ox, donkey, camel, goat,
to look with them upon my Redeemer's face,
and in him account myself delivered from sin;
let me with Simeon clasp the new-born child
to my heart,
embrace him with undying faith,
exulting that he is mine and I am his.
In him thou hast given me so much
that heaven can give me no more.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gospel Grammar

I came across this article today on Tullian Tchividjian's blog: The Grammar of The Gospel.

Mark Baur had mentioned this idea to me after he got back from the Desiring God conference in October. The thing that stuck out to him from Tullian's message was that "Imperatives-Indicatives=Impossibilities." This basically means that giving commands to do things, without understanding the truths behind those commands, makes carrying them out impossible. This shows up in churches all over the place. People try to preach commands of morality, missions, and evangelism but never see any results. The main problem, as far as I can see it, is that people do not understand the truths of the Gospel so they do not really understand why they would want to do these things.

In this short article, Tullian quotes Sinclair Ferguson putting this is a positive light. "In the gospel, the structure of the grammar is always indicative gives rise to imperative..." This is very helpful to know.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Edwards Sermon

So I finished my first Jonathan Edwards sermon today. I'm hooked. It was fifteen pages long, and it just absolutely blew me away. I've listened to Piper, Driscoll, Chandler, and the rest of these guys for quite awhile now, and what I love about them is how God-glorifying they are. Now I see where they are fed. I don't really know how to put it into words but he understood things in scripture on a level that I can't even fathom. Anyway, there's no reason for me to keep going on about it. The point is that the sermon did four things for me:

1. It humbled me because of the amazing knowledge and understanding that this man had.
2. It humbled me because of the helpless, worthless, dependent picture of man that he draws out of God's Word.
3. It gave me a view of the Father, Son, and Spirit that is higher, fuller, and more magnificent than anything I've ever seen or felt before.
4. It gave me a deep love and joy found in God's sovereignty that I had not felt at this depth before.

But obviously the way that I feel about it can't really stir up your affections. So I found the sermon on the internet. And I'm going to post it on here just in case anyone wants to take the time to read it. The first section is a letter that preceded the sermon in my book. It was written as an advertisement for Edwards after these men heard this sermon in Boston. It's short so I figured I'd put it in here too. The next part is the sermon itself. I'm sure there will be some grammar errors in here just because it was on the internet. I tried to fix all the ones that I could see. Also, it was written in 1731 so the language is quite a bit different. I will try to define difficult words as they come up. Anyway, enjoy the sermon. I'd love to talk to you about it if you'd like. I hope it does for you what it has done for me.


It was with no small difficulty that the author's youth and modesty were prevailed on to let him appear a preacher in our public lecture, and afterwards to give us a copy of his discourse, at the desire of divers ministers and others who heard it. But as we quickly found him a workman that needs not to be ashamed before his brethren, our satisfaction was the greater to see him pitching upon so noble a subject, and treating it with so much strength and clearness, as the judicious reader will perceive in the following composure: a subject which secures to God his great design in the work of fallen man's redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ, which is evidently so laid out, as that the glory of the whole should return to him, the blessed ordainer, purchaser, and applier; a subject which enters deep into practical religion; without the belief of which, that must soon die in the hearts and lives of men.

For in proportion to the sense we have of our dependence on the sovereign God for all the good we want, will be our value for him, our trust in him, our fear to offend him, and our care to please him; as likewise our gratitude and love, our delight and praise, upon our sensible experience of his free benefits.

In short, it is the very soul of piety, to apprehend and own that all our springs are in him; the springs of our present grace and comfort, and of our future glory and blessedness; and that they all entirely flow through Christ, by the efficacious influence of the Holy Spirit. By these things saints live, and in all these things is the life of our spirits.

Such doctrines as these, which, by humbling the minds of men, prepare them for the exaltations of God, he has signally owned and prospered in the reformed world, and in our land especially, in the days of our forefathers; and we hope they will never grow unfashionable among us; for, we are well assured, if those which we call the doctrines of grace ever come to be contemned or disrelished, vital piety will proportionably languish and wear away; as these doctrines always sink in the esteem of men upon the decay of serious religion.

We cannot therefore but express our joy and thankfulness, that the great Head of the church is pleased still to raise up from among the children of his people, for the supply of his churches, those who assert and maintain these evangelical principles; and that our churches (notwithstanding all their degeneracies) have still a high value for such principles, and for those who publicly own and teach them.

And as we cannot but wish and pray that the college in the neighbouring colony (as well as our own) may be a fruitful mother of many such sons as the author, by the blessing of Heaven on the care of their present worthy rector; so we heartily rejoice in the special favour of Providence in bestowing such a rich gift on the happy church of Northampton, which has for so many lustres of years flourished under the influence of such pious doctrines, taught them in the excellent ministry of their late venerable pastor, whose gift and spirit, we hope, will long live and shine in this his grandson, to the end that they may abound yet more in all the lovely fruits of evangelical humility and thankfulness, to the glory of God.

To his blessing we commit them all, with this discourse, and every one that reads it; and are Your servants in the gospel,



Boston, August 17, 1731.


A Sermon by Jonathan Edwards

[Preached on the Public Lecture in Boston, July 8, 1731; and published at the desire of several ministers and others in Boston who heard it. -- This was the first piece published by Mr. Edwards.]

1 Corinthians 1:29, 30, 31

“That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

Those Christians to whom the apostle directed this epistle, dwelt in a part of the world where human wisdom was in great repute; as the apostle observes in the 22nd verse of this chapter, "The Greeks seek after wisdom." Corinth was not far from Athens, that had been for many ages the most famous seat of philosophy and learning in the world. The apostle therefore observes to them, how God by the gospel destroyed, and brought to nought, their wisdom. The learned Grecians, and their great philosophers, by all their wisdom did not know God, they were not able to find out the truth in divine things. But, after they had done their utmost to no effect, it pleased God at length to reveal himself by the gospel, which they accounted foolishness. He:

"chose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty, and the base things of the world, and things that are despised, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought the things that are."

And the apostle informs them in the text why he thus did, That no flesh should glory in his presence, etc.- In which words may be observed:

1. What God aims at in the disposition of things in the affair of redemption, viz. that man should not glory in himself, but alone in God; That no flesh should glory in his presence, --that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
{"viz." means namely}

2. How this end is attained in the work of redemption, viz. by that absolute and immediate dependence which men have upon God in that work, for all their good. Inasmuch as,

First, All the good that they have is in and through Christ; He is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. All the good of the fallen and redeemed creature is concerned in these four things, and cannot be better distributed than into them; but Christ is each of them to us, and we have none of them any otherwise than in him. He is made of God unto us wisdom: in him are all the proper good and true excellency of the understanding. Wisdom was a thing that the Greeks admired; but Christ is the true light of the world; it is through him alone that true wisdom is imparted to the mind. It is in and by Christ that we have righteousness: it is by being in him that we are justified, have our sins pardoned, and are received as righteous into God's favour. It is by Christ that we have sanctification: we have in him true excellency of heart as well as of understanding; and he is made unto us inherent as well as imputed righteousness. It is by Christ that we have redemption, or the actual deliverance from all misery, and the bestowment of all happiness and glory. Thus we have all our good by Christ, who is God.

Secondly, Another instance wherein our dependence on God for all our good appears, is this: That it is God that has given us Christ, that we might have these benefits through him; he of God is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, etc.

Thirdly, It is of him that we are in Christ Jesus, and come to have an interest in him, and so do receive those blessings which he is made unto us. It is God that gives us faith whereby we close with Christ.

So that in this verse is shown our dependence on each person in the Trinity for all our good. We are dependent on Christ the Son of God, as he is our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. We are dependent on the Father, who has given us Christ, and made him to be these things to us. We are dependent on the Holy Ghost, for it is of him that we are in Christ Jesus; it is the Spirit of God that gives faith in him, whereby we receive him, and close with him.


"God is glorified in the work of redemption in this, that there appears in it so absolute and universal a dependence of the redeemed on him." -- Here I propose to show, 1st, That there is an absolute and universal dependence of the redeemed on God for all their good. And, 2dly, That God hereby is exalted and glorified in the work of redemption.

I. There is an absolute and universal dependence of the redeemed on God.

The nature and contrivance of our redemption is such, that the redeemed are in every thing directly, immediately, and entirely dependent on God: they are dependent on him for all, and are dependent on him every way.
{"contrivance"- the use of skill to create something or bring something about}

The several ways wherein the dependence of one being may be upon another for its good, and wherein the redeemed of Jesus Christ depend on God for all their good, are these, viz. That they have all their good of him, and that they have all through him, and that they have all in him: That he is the cause and original whence all their good comes, therein it is of him; and that he is the medium by which it is obtained and conveyed, therein they have it through him; and that he is the good itself given and conveyed, therein it is in him. Now those that are redeemed by Jesus Christ do, in all these respects, very directly and entirely depend on God for their all.

First, The redeemed have all their good of God. God is the great author of it. He is the first cause of it; and not only so, but he is the only proper cause. It is of God that we have our Redeemer. It is God that has provided a Saviour for us. Jesus Christ is not only of God in his person, as he is the only-begotten Son of God, but he is from God, as we are concerned in him, and in his office of Mediator. He is the gift of God to us: God chose and anointed him, appointed him his work, and sent him into the world. And as it is God that gives, so it is God that accepts the Saviour. He gives the purchaser, and he affords the thing purchased.

It is of God that Christ becomes ours, that we are brought to him, and are united to him. It is of God that we receive faith to close with him, that we may have an interest in him. Eph. 2:8. "For by grace ye are saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." It is of God that we actually receive all the benefits that Christ has purchased. It is God that pardons and justifies, and delivers from going down to hell; and into his favour the redeemed are received, when they are justified. So it is God that delivers from the dominion of sin, cleanses us from our filthiness, and changes us from our deformity. It is of God that the redeemed receive all their true excellency, wisdom, and holiness; and that two ways, viz. as the Holy Ghost by whom these things are immediately wrought is from God, proceeds from him, and is sent by him; and also as the Holy Ghost himself is God, by whose operation and indwelling the knowledge of God and divine things, a holy disposition and all grace, are conferred and upheld. And though means are made use of in conferring grace on men's souls, yet it is of God that we have these means of grace, and it is he that makes them effectual. It is of God that we have the Holy Scriptures; they are his word. It is of God that we have ordinances, and their efficacy depends on the immediate influence of his Spirit. The ministers of the gospel are sent of God, and all their sufficiency is of him.-- 2 Cor. 4:7. "We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." Their success depends entirely and absolutely on the immediate blessing and influence of God.
{"confer"- to grant or bestow; "effectual"- effective}

1. The redeemed have all from the grace of God. It was of mere grace that God gave us his only-begotten Son. The grace is great in proportion to the excellency of what is given. The gift was infinitely precious, because it was of a person infinitely worthy, a person of infinite glory; and also because it was of a person infinitely near and dear to God. The grace is great in proportion to the benefit we have given us in him. The benefit is doubly infinite, in that in him we have deliverance from an infinite, because an eternal, misery, and do also receive eternal joy and glory. The grace in bestowing this gift is great in proportion to our unworthiness to whom it is given; instead of deserving such a gift, we merited infinitely ill of God's hands. The grace is great according to the manner of giving, or in proportion to the humiliation and expense of the method and means by which a way is made for our having the gift. He gave him to dwell amongst us; he gave him to us incarnate, or in our nature; and in the like though sinless infirmities. He gave him to us in a low and afflicted state; and not only so, but as slain, that he might be a feast for our souls.

The grace of God in bestowing this gift is most free. It was what God was under no obligation to bestow. He might have rejected fallen man, as he did the fallen angels. It was what we never did any thing to merit; it was given while we were yet enemies, and before we had so much as repented. It was from the love of God who saw no excellency in us to attract it; and it was without expectation of ever being requited for it. And it is from mere grace that the benefits of Christ are applied to such and such particular persons. Those that are called and sanctified are to attribute it alone to the good pleasure of God's goodness, by which they are distinguished. He is sovereign, and hath mercy on whom he will have mercy.

Man hath now a greater dependence on the grace of God than he had before the fall. He depends on the free goodness of God for much more than he did then. Then he depended on God's goodness for conferring the reward of perfect obedience; for God was not obliged to promise and bestow that reward. But now we are dependent on the grace of God for much more; we stand in need of grace, not only to bestow glory upon us, but to deliver us from hell and eternal wrath. Under the first covenant we depended on God's goodness to give us the reward of righteousness; and so we do now; but we stand in need of God's free and sovereign grace to give us that righteousness; to pardon our sin, and release us from the guilt and infinite demerit of it.

And as we are dependent on the goodness of God for more now than under the first covenant, so we are dependent on a much greater, more free and wonderful goodness. We are now more dependent on God's arbitrary and sovereign good pleasure. We were in our first estate dependent on God for holiness. We had our original righteousness from him; but then holiness was not bestowed in such a way of sovereign good pleasure as it is now. Man was created holy, for it became God to create holy all his reasonable creatures. It would have been a disparagement to the holiness of God's nature, if he had made an intelligent creature unholy. But now when fallen man is made holy, it is from mere and arbitrary grace; God may for ever deny holiness to the fallen creature if he pleases, without any disparagement to any of his perfections.
{"disparage"- to regard or represent as being of little worth}

And we are not only indeed more dependent on the grace of God, but our dependence is much more conspicuous, because our own insufficiency and helplessness in ourselves is much more apparent in our fallen and undone state, than it was before we were either sinful or miserable. We are more apparently dependent on God for holiness, because we are first sinful, and utterly polluted, and afterward holy. So the production of the effect is sensible, and its derivation from God more obvious. If man was ever holy and always was so,it would not be so apparent, that he had not holiness necessarily, as an inseparable qualification of human nature. So we are more apparently dependent on free grace for the favour of God, for we are first justly the objects of his displeasure, and afterwards are received into favour. We are more apparently dependent on God for happiness, being first miserable, and afterwards happy. It is more apparently free and without merit in us, because we are actually without any kind of excellency to merit, if there could be any such thing as merit in creature excellency. And we are not only without any true excellency, but are full of, and wholly defiled with, that which is infinitely odious. All our good is more apparently from God, because we are first naked and wholly with- out any good, and afterwards enriched with all good.
{"odious"- repulsive}

2. We receive all from the power of God. Man's redemption is often spoken of as a work of wonderful power as well as grace. The great power of God appears in bringing a sinner from his low state, from the depths of sin and misery, to such an exalted state of holiness and happiness. Eph. 1:19. "And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us- ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power."----

We are dependent on God's power through every step of our redemption. We are dependent on the power of God to convert us, and give faith in Jesus Christ, and the new nature.

It is a work of creation:

"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature," (2 Cor. 5:17). "We are created in Christ Jesus," (Eph. 2:10).

The fallen creature cannot attain to true holiness, but by being created again. Eph. 4:24:

"And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."

It is a raising from the dead. Colos. 2:12-13:

"Wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead."

Yea, it is a more glorious work of power than mere creation, or raising a dead body to life, in that the effect attained is greater and more excellent. That holy and happy being, and spiritual life, which is produced in the work of conversion, is a far greater and more glorious effect, than mere being and life. And the state from whence the change is made -- a death in sin, a total corruption of nature, and depth of misery -- is far more remote from the state attained, than mere death or non-entity.

It is by God's power also that we are preserved in a state of grace. 1 Pet. 1:5. "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation." As grace is at first from God, so it is continually from him, and is maintained by him, as much as light in the atmosphere is all day long from the sun, as well as at first dawning, or sun-rising. -- Men are dependent on the power of God for every exercise of grace, and for carrying on that work in the heart, for subduing sin and corruption, increasing holy principles, and enabling to bring forth fruit in good works. Man is dependent on divine power in bringing grace to its perfection, m making the soul completely amiable in Christ's glorious likeness, and filling of it with a satisfying joy and blessedness; and for the raising of the body to life, and to such a perfect state, that it shall be suitable for a habitation and organ for a soul so perfected and blessed. These are the most glorious effects of the power of God, that are seen in the series of God's acts with respect to the creatures.

Man was dependent on the power of God in his first estate, but he is more dependent on his power now; he needs God's power to do more things for him, and depends on a more wonderful exercise of his power. It was an effect of the power of God to make man holy at the first: but more remarkably so now, because there is a great deal of opposition and difficulty in the way. It is a more glorious effect of power to make that holy that was so depraved, and under the dominion of sin, than to confer holiness on that which before had nothing of the contrary. It is a more glorious work of power to rescue a soul out of the hands of the devil, and from the powers of darkness, and to bring it into a state of salvation, than to confer holiness where there was no prepossession or opposition. Luke 11:21-22:

"When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace; but when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour, wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils."

So it is a more glorious work of power to uphold a soul in a state of grace and holiness, and to carry it on till it is brought to glory, when there is so much sin remaining in the heart resisting, and Satan with all his might opposing, than it would have been to have kept man from falling at first, when Satan had nothing in man.-- Thus we have shown how the redeemed are dependent on God for all their good, as they have all of him.

Secondly, They are also dependent on God for all, as they have all through him. God is the medium of it, as well as the author and fountain of it. All we have, wisdom, the pardon of sin, deliverance from hell, acceptance into God's favour, grace and holiness, true comfort and happiness, eternal life and glory, is from God by a Mediator; and this Mediator is God; which Mediator we have an absolute dependence upon, as he through whom we receive all. So that here is another way wherein we have our dependence on God for all good. God not only gives us the Mediator, and accepts his mediation, and of his power and grace bestows the things purchased by the Mediator; but he the Mediator is God.

Our blessings are what we have by purchase; and the purchase is made of God, the blessings are purchased of him, and God gives the purchaser; and not only so, but God is the purchaser. Yea God is both the purchaser and the price; for Christ, who is God, purchased these blessings for us, by offering up himself as the price of our salvation. He purchased eternal life by the sacrifice of himself. Heb. 7:27. "He offered up himself." And 9:26. "He hath appeared to take away sin by the sacrifice of himself." Indeed it was the human nature that was offered; but it was the same person with the divine, and therefore was an infinite price.

As we thus have our good through God, we have a dependence on him in a respect that man in his first estate had not. Man was to have eternal life then through his own righteousness; so that he had partly a dependence upon what was in himself; for we have a dependence upon that through which we have our good, as well as that from which we have it; and though man's righteousness that he then depended on was indeed from God, yet it was his own, it was inherent in himself; so that his dependence was not so immediately on God. But now the righteousness that we are dependent on is not in ourselves, but in God. We are saved through the righteousness of Christ: He is made unto us righteousness; and therefore is prophesied of, Jer. 23:6, under that name, "the Lord our righteousness." In that the righteousness we are justified by is the righteousness of Christ, it is the righteousness of God. 2 Cor.5:21. "That we might be made the righteousness of God in him." --Thus in redemption we have not only all things of God, but by and through him, 1 Cor. 8:6. "But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him."

Thirdly, The redeemed have all their good in God. We not only have it of him, and through him, but it consists in him; he is all our good.-- The good of the redeemed is either objective or inherent. By their objective good, I mean that extrinsic object, in the possession and enjoyment of which they are happy. Their inherent good is that excellency or pleasure which is in the soul itself. With respect to both of which the redeemed have all their good in God, or which is the same thing, God him- self is all their good.

1. The redeemed have all their objective good in God. God himself is the great good which they are brought to the posses- sion and enjoyment of by redemption. He is the highest good, and the sum of all that good which Christ purchased. God is the inheritance of the saints; he is the portion of their souls. God is their wealth and treasure, their food, their Life, their dwelling- place, their ornament and diadem, and their everlasting honour and glory. They have none in heaven but God; he is the great good which the redeemed are received to at death, and which they are to rise to at the end of the world. The Lord God is the light of the heavenly Jerusalem; and is the "river of the water of life " that runs, and "the tree of life that grows, in the midst of the paradise of God." The glorious excellencies and beauty of God will be what will for ever entertain the minds of the saints, and the love of God will be their everlasting feast. The redeemed will indeed enjoy other things; they will enjoy the angels, and will enjoy one another; but that which they shall enjoy in the angels, or each other, or in any thing else whatsoever that will yield them delight and happiness, will be what shall be seen of God in them.
{"diadem"- a jeweled crown or headband worn as a symbol of sovereignty}

2. The redeemed have all their inherent good in God. Inherent good is twofold; it is either excellency or pleasure. These the redeemed not only derive from God, as caused by him, but have them in him. They have spiritual excellency and joy by a kind of participation of God. They are made excellent by a communication of God's excellency. God puts his own beauty, i.e. his beautiful likeness, upon their souls. They are made partakers of the divine nature, or moral image of God, 2 Pet. 1:4. They are holy by being made partakers of God's holiness. Heb. 12:10. The saints are beautiful and blessed by a communication of God's holiness and joy, as the moon and planets are bright by the sun's light. The saint hath spiritual joy and pleasure by a kind of effusion of God on the soul. In these things the redeemed have communion with God; that is, they partake with him and of him.

The saints have both their spiritual excellency and blessedness by the gift of the Holy Ghost, and his dwelling in them. They are not only caused by the Holy Ghost, but are in him as their principle. The Holy Spirit becoming an inhabitant, is a vital principle in the soul. He, acting in, upon, and with the soul, becomes a fountain of true holiness and joy, as a spring is of water, by the exertion and diffusion of itself. John 4:14:

"But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."

Compared with chap. 7:38-39:

"He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water; but this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive."

The sum of what Christ has purchased for us, is that spring of water spoken of in the former of those places, and those rivers of living water spoken of in the latter. And the sum of the blessings, which the redeemed shall receive in heaven, is that river of water of life that proceeds from the throne of God and the Lamb, Rev. 22:1. Which doubtless signifies the same with those rivers of living water, explained, John 7:38-39, which is elsewhere called the "river of God's pleasures." Herein consists the fulness of good, which the saints receive of Christ. It is by partaking of the Holy Spirit, that they have communion with Christ in his fulness. God hath given the Spirit, not by measure unto him; and they do receive of his fulness, and grace for grace. This is the sum of the saints' inheritance; and there- fore that little of the Holy Ghost which believers have in this world, is said to be the earnest of their inheritance, 2 Cor. 1:22. "Who hath also sealed us, and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." And chap. 5:5. "Now he that hath wrought us for the self-same thing, is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit." And Eph. 1:13-14. "Ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession."

The Holy Spirit and good things are spoken of in Scripture as the same; as if the Spirit of God communicated to the soul, comprised all good things, Matt. 7:11. "How much more shall your heavenly Father give good things to them that ask him?" In Luke it is, chap. 11:13. "How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" This is the sum of the blessings that Christ died to procure, and the subject of gospel-promises. Gal. 3:13-14. "He was made a curse for us, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." The Spirit of God is the great promise of the Father, Luke 24:49. "Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you." The Spirit of God therefore is called "the Spirit of promise," Eph. 1:33. This promised thing Christ received, and had given into his hand, as soon as he had finished the work of our redemption, to bestow on all that he had redeemed; Acts 2:13. "Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye both see and hear." So that all the holiness and happiness of the redeemed is in God. It is in the communications, indwelling, and acting of the Spirit of God. Holiness and happiness is in the fruit, here and hereafter, because God dwells in them, and they in God.

Thus God has given us the Redeemer, and it is by him that our good is purchased. So God is the Redeemer and the price; and he also is the good purchased. So that all that we have is of God, and through him, and in him. Rom. 11:36. "For of him, and through him, and to him, or in him, are all things." The same in the Greek that is here rendered to him, is rendered in him, 1 Cor. 8:6.

II. God is glorified in the work of redemption by this means, viz. By there being so great and universal a dependence of the redeemed on him.

1. Man hath so much the greater occasion and obligation to notice and acknowledge God's perfections and all-sufficiency. The greater the creature's dependence is on God's perfections, and the greater concern he has with them, so much the greater occasion has he to take notice of them. So much the greater concern any one has with and dependence upon the power and grace of God, so much the greater occasion has he to take notice of that power and grace. So much the greater and more immediate dependence there is on the divine holiness, so much the greater occasion to take notice of and acknowledge that. So much the greater and more absolute dependence we have on the divine perfections, as belonging to the several persons of the Trinity, so much the greater occasion have we to observe and own the divine glory of each of them. That which we are most concerned with, is surely most in the way of our observation and notice; and this kind of concern with any thing, viz. dependence, does especially tend to command and oblige the attention and observation. Those things that we are not much dependent upon, it is easy to neglect; but we can scarce do any other than mind that which we have a great dependence on. By reason of our so great dependence on God, and his perfections, and in so many respects, he and his glory are the more directly set in our view, which way soever we turn our eyes.

We have the greater occasion to take notice of God's all-sufficiency, when all our sufficiency is thus every way of him. We have the more occasion to contemplate him as an infinite good, and as the fountain of all good. Such a dependence on God demonstrates his all-sufficiency. So much as the dependence of the creature is on God, so much the greater does the creature's emptiness in himself appear; and so much the greater the creature's emptiness, so much the greater must the fulness of the Being be who supplies him. Our having all of God, shows the fulness of his power and grace; our having all through him, shows the fulness of his merit and worthiness; and our having all in him, demonstrates his fulness of beauty, love, and happiness. And the redeemed, by reason of the greatness of their dependence on God, have not only so much the greater occasion, but obligation to contemplate and acknowledge the glory and fulness of God. How unreasonable and ungrateful should we be, if we did not acknowledge that sufficiency and glory which we absolutely, immediately, and universally depend upon!

2. Hereby is demonstrated how great God's glory is considered comparatively, or as compared with the creature's. By the creature being thus wholly and universally dependent on God, it appears that the creature is nothing, and that God is all. Hereby it appears that God is infinitely above us; that God's strength, and wisdom, and holiness, are infinitely greater than ours. However great and glorious the creature apprehends God to be, yet if he be not sensible of the difference between God and him, so as to see that God's glory is great, compared with his own, he will not be disposed to give God the glory due to his name. If the creature in any respects sets himself upon a level with God, or exalts himself to any competition with him, however he may apprehend that great honour and profound respect may belong to God from those that are at a greater distance, he will not be so sensible of its being due from him. So much the more men exalt themselves, so much the less will they surely be disposed to exalt God. It is certainly what God aims at in the disposition of things in redemption, (if we allow the Scriptures to be a revelation of God's mind,) that God should appear full, and man in himself empty, that God should appear all, and man nothing. It is God's declared design that others should not "glory in his presence;" which implies that it is his design to advance his own comparative glory. So much the more man "glories in God's presence," so much the less glory is ascribed to God.

3. By its being thus ordered, that the creature should have so absolute and universal a dependence on God, provision is made that God should have our whole souls, and should be the object of our undivided respect. If we had our dependence partly on God, and partly on something else, man's respect would be divided to those different things on which he had dependence. Thus it would be if we depended on God only for a part of our good, and on ourselves, or some other being, for another part: or if we had our good only from God, and through another that was not God, and in something else distinct from both, our hearts would be divided between the good itself, and him from whom, and him through whom, we received it. But now there is no occasion for this, God being not only he from or of whom we have all good, but also through whom, and is that good itself, that we have from him and through him. So that whatsoever there is to attract our respect, the tendency is still directly towards God; all unites in him as the centre.


1. We may here observe the marvellous wisdom of God, in the work of redemption. God hath made man's emptiness and misery, his low, lost, and ruined state, into which he sunk by the fall, an occasion of the greater advancement of his own glory, as in other ways, so particularly in this, that there is now much more universal and apparent dependence of man on God. Though God be pleased to lift man out of that dismal abyss of sin and woe into which he was fallen, and exceedingly to exalt him in excellency and honour, and to a high pitch of glory and blessedness, yet the creature hath nothing in any respect to glory of; all the glory evidently belongs to God, all is in a mere, and most absolute, and divine dependence on the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. And each person of the Trinity is equally glorified in this work: there is an absolute dependence of the creature on every one for all: all is of the Father, all through the Son, and all in the Holy Ghost. Thus God appears in the work of redemption as all in all. It is fit that he who is, and there is none else, should be the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the all and the only, in this work.

2. Hence those doctrines and schemes of divinity that are in any respect opposite to such an absolute and universal dependence on God, derogate from his glory, and thwart the design of our redemption. And such are those schemes that put the creature in God's stead, in any of the mentioned respects, that exalt man into the place of either Father, Son, or Holy Ghost, in any thing pertaining to our redemption. However they may allow of a dependence of the redeemed on God, yet they deny a dependence that is so absolute and universal. They own an entire dependence of God for some things, but not for others; they own that we depend on God for the gift and acceptance of a Redeemer, but deny so absolute a dependence on him for the obtaining of an interest in the Redeemer. They own an absolute dependence on the Father for giving his Son, and on the Son for working out redemption, but not so entire a dependence on the Holy Ghost for conversion, and a being in Christ, and so coming to a title to his benefits. They own a dependence on God for means of grace, but not absolutely for the benefit and success of those means; a partial dependence on the power of God, for obtaining and exercising holiness, but not a mere dependence on the arbitrary and sovereign grace of God. They own a dependence on the free grace of God for a reception into his favour, so far that it is without any proper merit, but not as it is without being attracted, or moved with any excellency. They own a partial dependence on Christ, as he through whom we have life, as having purchased new terms of life, but still hold that the righteousness through which we have life is inherent in ourselves, as it was under the first covenant. Now whatever scheme is inconsistent with our entire dependence on God for all, and of having all of him, through him, and in him, it is repugnant to the design and tenor of the gospel, and robs it of that which God accounts its lustre and glory.
{"stead"- place or role; "repugnant"- extremely distasteful, unacceptable; "tenor"- the general meaning, sense, or content of something}

3. Hence we may learn a reason why faith is that by which we come to have an interest in this redemption; for there is included in the nature of faith, a sensible acknowledgment of absolute dependence on God in this affair. It is very fit that it should be required of all, in order to their having the benefit of this redemption, that they should be sensible of, and acknowledge, their dependence on God for it. It is by this means that God hath contrived to glorify himself in redemption; and it is fit that he should at least have this glory of those that are the subjects of this redemption, and have the benefit of it.-- Faith is a sensibleness of what is real in the work of redemption; and the soul that believes doth entirely depend on God for all salvation, in its own sense and act. Faith abases men, and exalts God; it gives all the glory of redemption to him alone. It is necessary in order to saving faith, that man should be emptied of himself, be sensible that he is "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Humility is a great ingredient of true faith: he that truly receives redemption, receives it as a little child, Mark 10:15. "Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of heaven as a little child, he shall not enter therein." It is the delight of a believing soul to abase itself and exalt God alone: that is the language of it, Psalm 115:1. "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to thy name give glory."
{"abase"- behave in a way so as to belittle or degrade (someone)}

4. Let us be exhorted to exalt God alone, and ascribe to him all the glory of redemption. Let us endeavour to obtain, and increase in, a sensibleness of our great dependence on God, to have our eye to him alone, to mortify a self-dependent and self-righteous disposition. Man is naturally exceeding prone to exalt himself, and depend on his own power or goodness; as though from himself he must expect happiness. He is prone to have respect to enjoyments alien from God and his Spirit, as those in which happiness is to be found. -- But this doctrine should teach us to exalt God alone; as by trust and reliance, so by praise. Let him that glorieth, glory in the Lord. Hath any man hope that he is converted, and sanctified, and that his mind is endowed with true excellency and spiritual beauty? That his sins are forgiven, and he received into God's favour, and exalted to the honour and blessedness of being his child, and an heir of eternal life? Let him give God all the glory; who alone makes him to differ from the worst of men in this world, or the most miserable of the damned in hell. Hath any man much comfort and strong hope of eternal life, let not his hope lift him up, but dispose him the more to abase himself, to reflect on his own exceeding unworthiness of such a favour, and to exalt God alone. Is any man eminent in holiness, and abundant in good works, let him take nothing of the glory of it to himself, but ascribe it to him whose "workmanship we are, created in Christ Jesus unto good works."
{"eminent"- [attribute] used to emphasize the presence of a positive quality}

Monday, December 6, 2010

Jonathan Edwards

I was working desk today and decided I'd open up my Jonathan Edwards book just to get a look at it. I figured it couldn't take too long to read a sermon (the book is called Sermons of Jonathan Edwards) and it was easier to read a stand-alone sermon than start a book that I won't get back to for a few weeks. So I read the introduction and then started the first sermon. First of all, the sermons are a lot longer than I had anticipated. Secondly, they are also a lot better. I knew that Edwards was a brain, but I really had no idea it would be so packed. I can see why John Piper was so enthusiastic about his love for Edwards and the way he taught. It is amazingly God-glorifying. Anyway, here is a quote from his most famous book, A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections. I hope it is beneficial for you.

“I am bold in saying this, but I believe that no one is ever changed, either by doctrine, by hearing the Word, or by the preaching or teaching of another, unless the affections are moved by these things. No one ever seeks salvation, no one ever cries for wisdom, no one ever wrestles with God, no one ever kneels in prayer or flees from sin, with a heart that remains unaffected. In a word, there is never any great achievement by the things of religion without a heart deeply affected by those things.”
Jonathan Edwards, A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Learning on the Road

Okay I said that I would comment on the sermons that I listened to in the car over Thanksgiving break. So here they are. I'm sure that you can search the names of these on the internet. The first six are from various Desiring God conferences. I won't comment on all of them although all of them were very good.

Mark Driscoll "The Supremacy of Christ and the Church in a Postmodern World"
Tim Keller "The Supremacy of Christ and the Gospel in a Postmodern World"
D.A. Carson "The Supremacy of Christ and Love in a Postmodern World"
Francis Chan "Think Hard, Stay Humble: The Life of the Mind and the Peril of Pride"
Micahel Oh "Missions as Fasting: The Forsaking of Things Present for the Global Exaltation of Christ"
Mark Dever "Sex and the Single Man"
Ravi Zacharias "The Loss of Truth (Parts 1 & 2)"
Micahel Horton "American Spirituality"
John Piper "Single in Christ: A Name Better Than Sons and Daughters"

Several of these stuck with me. The first two (Driscoll and Keller) were fantastic. Both hit on a point that I have been thinking a lot about lately and that is contextualization of the gospel. I know that is a scary word for a lot of people just because of how often it is misused. Generally people think of changing the message of the gospel to make it sound relevant to someone. That is nothing short of heresy, and Paul says in Galatians 1 that people who do that will be accursed. I'm talking about two things. The first is the method in which you present the gospel. And the second is showing people their need for Christ and his gospel through the avenue of the culture that they are in. Keller's spoke very much to that second point and was extremely helpful. I would encourage any of you who have a couple hours to listen to both of these messages. Here is the link to the page from the 2006 conference.

Francis Chan and Michael Oh's messages were the first two that I listened to on the way back to school. Both men hit me very hard because of the love that they have for those without Christ. Michael Oh's parallel of fasting and missions was mind-blowing for me. Not just because of what I saw in missions but how I see that in so many other areas of life. The title presents it well. Chan is always someone that I have loved listening to because he appeals to so many people. He speaks very plainly and is very easy to understand. These are two that I will probably listen to many more times when I get the chance.

Ravi and Michael Horton had similar messages. I had forgotten how much I love Ravi Zacharias. His message went very well with the topic I've been hit with recently concerning the postmodern culture in which we live. His are both very short, but packed with things that will blow your mind. I catch myself laughing when I listen to him because he shows the ridiculousness of ridiculous things. Michael Horton was also very good, but after listening to Ravi's his was somewhat redundant.

Mark Dever and John Piper both had good talks that were relevant to me right now. Piper had an awesome exposition of Isaiah 56:3-5. It was about the joys of singleness that come from having spiritual children instead of fleshly children. It was very encouraging for me. Dever's was a tag-team thing with some other guys in his church. It was basically about dating and what they believe the Bible says about it. There was a lot that they covered and I am going to have to look into it with the extra resources they gave. It was ground-shaking for me. The way they presented dating/courtship was a way that I had never heard before and taken to an extent I had never heard anyone take it before. They had some great things to say about pre-marital physical intimacy though. It's worth listening to just for that.

So obviously there is still a lot for me to process. I thank God for the ability to learn from these great teachers though. And to learn as I drive no less. This is why I stopped praying for safety on the way to and from school. The deepest desire of my heart is not to get from one place to another without getting a scratch. The deepest desire of my heart is to know Christ more fully and experience the joy found in His presence. That's why I love road trips. Only three more weeks till the next one.


Tullian Tchividjian is a great preacher that I have just recently heard a lot about. He spoke at the Desiring God conference this year and is very much connected with The Gospel Coalition. I just read a blog post that he wrote about self-righteousness. It's a great article and made me realize that I am often self-righteous about not being self-righteous. Read the article to understand what I mean.

The Double-Reach of Self-Righteousness